December 4, 2020

New medical student fellowship seeks to develop physician leaders

Female Medical Student

The Wayne State University Office of Women’s Health, in partnership with the School of Medicine, is launching a new innovative leadership fellowship that will provide medical students the opportunity to engage with world-renowned leaders in health care.

The new Trailblazer Fellowship, beginning its first session Jan. 4, will prepare medical students to lead as physicians, researchers and policymakers. The fellowship’s first cohort consists of 40 third-year students. Sessions will be scheduled monthly for an 18-month period. Fellows will receive a certificate upon completion of the program and will have the opportunity to engage in several community-based initiatives to create meaningful health care ventures with true societal impact.

Dean Mark E. Schweitzer, M.D., selected Sonia Hassan, M.D., associate vice president of the WSU Office of Women’s Health, to design and oversee the fellowship.

Sonia Hassan, M.D.

“Our objective is to arm clinically-advanced students with the skills and knowledge to become true health innovators,” said Dr. Hassan, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Students will be challenged to explore their own beliefs and goals, opposing views and solutions, as well as medical and non-medical issues affecting health care.”

The fellowship, created at the request of Dean Schweitzer, will challenge students to invoke change and impact their community. Fellows will identify pathways for executive leadership, and promote the development of skills such as emotional intelligence, communication and interpersonal attentiveness.

“At Wayne State, we have a 152-year history of training the best clinical physicians in the country,” Dean Schweitzer said. “With this new program, we hope to train our students to be not only superb clinicians, but physician leaders. These students will help to drive our medical system for the next 30 years.”

The fellowship, Dr. Hassan said, will be driven by innovation, self-evaluation, cases, lectures, readings and breakout sessions to strengthen fellows’ ability to improve the health of the community through an analytic and holistic approach. Fellows will focus on areas that challenge them to think and learn more deeply about non-medical issues affecting health care.

The course will be taught through a combination of lectures, readings, movies and breakout sessions. Speakers will include local, national and international leaders in health care. Topics will include areas such as leadership development paths, maximizing team dynamics, how physicians can influence public policy, solving America’s health care crisis with strategies that work for everyone, structural racism in health care, the future of primary care and team-based management, investing in social impact projects to make real change, avoiding physician burnout, health care economics, ethics, big data in science, international health care, implicit bias and microaggressions, and many more.

For more information and to register, contact the Office of Women’s Health at

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